Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Match raises £2,500 for family of dead police officer

Match raises £2,500 for family of dead police officer

A CHARITY football match raised at least £2,500 for the family of a policeman who was killed on duty.

The game was organised by Goring United FC, who played against a scratch team from the Royal Logistic Corps’ 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search Regiment.

Beforehand, there was a minute’s silence in memory of Pc Andrew Harper, who died when he was struck by a van while responding to a burglary in Sulhamstead on August 15. The 28-year-old former student of The Henley College had married just four weeks earlier.

About 150 people, including a number of serving Thames Valley Police officers, attended the game at Abingdon Town FC, which Goring United won 7-1.

The club decided to organise the match as several players and officials serve with the police and some knew Pc Harper. Others are members of the regiment, which is based at Vauxhall Barracks in Didcot.

The winning team were presented with a trophy by Major Steve Roberts, from the regiment.

The proceeds came from admission fees and the sale of commemorative programmes plus a raffle of shirts signed by players from Reading, Oxford United, Queens Park Rangers and Brentford football clubs.

Alex Fletcher, chairman of Goring United, said: “It was a good evening and very well-attended and we’re pleased with the amount we managed to raise.

“We’ve had many police officers playing for us over the years and many still are so it felt appropriate to honour Pc Harper in some way.

“Three army lads joined us this year so we thought they could help put another team together. By involving the Army we were able to pay our respects to those who risk their lives to serve our communities.

“We often take that for granted and wanted to show our gratitude because tragic things can and do happen. We all saw the news soon after it happened and were shocked. He was such a young chap and the same age as so many of our players.”

Pc Iestyn Llewellyn, the club’s ladies’ team manager, who helped to train Pc Harper, said: “It was a fantastic event to be involved in and a massive honour to represent both the club and the police while raising awareness and money for Andy’s family. He was a genuinely nice bloke — a gentle giant who would always have a chat and always wanted to serve and look after the communities where he grew up.”

The Goring scorers were Dean Robertson and Harry Voice (both two), Ed Ardill, Josh Monk and Andrew Taylor.

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A funeral for Pc Harper, who was based in Abingdon, took place at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford on Monday. Uniformed colleagues and hundreds of members of the public lined the streets as the cortege made its way to the cathedral.

His widow Lissie said he was a “gentle giant with a heart of gold”.

Three teenagers have been charged with Pc Harper’s murder.

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